While they're slowly losing to cell phone companies and such, the Bell company in question DOES have a legal monopoly on the land line system in the area. Given that things like the 'touch tone' fee are known to piss people off, it's probably because they're regulated on what they can charge as part of the 'basic fee', having to go before a board or whatever to get that increased. Meanwhile, with sufficient justification they can add a fee, but no regulatory structure to REMOVE said fees, thus the continuation of them long past when it made sense.
Sort of like how we had a tax here in the USA meant to pay for the last spanish-american war* that was finally ended less than a decade ago. Or how tolls will go up to 'pay for the construction' of some road or bridge, but never get taken down, even after all the construction costs have been recouped several times over.
*Which a lot of US history student don't even know about.
I cant understand your remaining with a landline. I took a voip provider (minimum use, with North American calling, caller id, call waiting, conferencing, emails with missed messages and whatever. I got their little adapter box onto the router. I bought a ups for the router, the adapter box and for the cordless phones in the house. Last time we had a power failure (I test by pulling the main breaker), I still had phone service for hours. I used Vonage.